Alibaba shuffle pushes Taobao and Tmall closer, strengthens enterprise focus

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Image credit: Alibaba Group

Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba announced Wednesday another organizational reshuffle aimed at upgrading its customer-facing services and enterprise-focused business lines.

The reorganization grants Taobao President Jiang Fan oversight over Tmall operations.

Meanwhile, Tmall President Jing Jie (aka Jet Jing) will become special assistant to Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang. Jing will also serve as secretary-general of Alibaba’s enterprise-facing product offerings, which includes the recently launched Alibaba Business Operating System.

The two sister sites will continue to develop independently. Although Taobao and Tmall are serving different needs of consumers, they are targeting “the same group of customers,” so Alibaba expects the realignment to create more “synergies” between the two, according to a company spokeswoman.

Michael Norris, strategy and research manager of AgencyChina told TechNode that it appeared Alibaba wanted Taobao and Tmall platform to develop independently and serve different consumers and merchants. But it seemed that Alibaba found that having CEO roles for each platform not the most efficient way to achieve this.

Norris added that it’s been about one year since Jiang and Jing were named CEOs of Taobao and Tmall, respectively. This relatively short period of time probably suggests there was some difficulty around the allocation and coordination of resources between the different platforms, Norris said.

The reshuffle underlines Alibaba’s commitment to enterprise services. This is the first time the company has placed enterprise services and solutions so high in its organization chart, Norris pointed out.

“Tencent’s September reshuffle sent a much stronger signal that it was taking enterprise seriously and Alibaba’s found its own way to match that,” said Norris.